Frank Brandon’s Column

Keano’s talk with Neville was great ‘quack’!

Our man Frank on Roy Keane’s interview with Gary Neville, the sad demise of a duck called Keith, the resumption of local sports, Richael and Team Ireland in Tokyo, and the return of a certain Portuguese footballer to Old Trafford…

Regular readers of this column will know that modern smart phones drive me silly. I know absolutely nothing about apps or downloads or podcasts. I am not, nor ever will be, on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or any of that stuff. Last week, when a lad tried to explain some simple technological data to me, I told him he might as well be talking to the wall.

  However, by some miracle, bits and pieces keep coming up on my phone, and in the week gone by, two items that I found most interesting arrived into my little simple world. The first was an interview by Roy Keane, over an hour long, with his old teammate and friend Gary Neville as part of a series called The Overlap. The second was a tale about two Keiths in Wigan, one of whom was a real person, and the other who turned out to be a deceased duck.

  Anyway, as we all know, you either love or hate ‘Keano’, and I make no apology for saying that I love him. If there is a better football pundit out there, I have yet to see him. His wide-ranging interview covered everything from his nights out drinking as a young player with both Nottingham Forest and Manchester United, to his fall out with Mick McCarthy in Saipan, touching as well on his dislike of players who need five cars (something he could not understand), and his family back home in Cork, where the advice his father gave him as a young League of Ireland player was simply to ‘get stuck in!’

  In typical Keane fashion, he didn’t mince his words, and it was the most riveting hour’s entertainment I’ve seen in a while. I was going to say it was riveting television, but as I watched it on the aforementioned smart phone, I don’t know what to call it. Anyway, if it crops up anywhere, make sure you watch it – it’s a great show.

  Then the story about the two Keiths appeared from somewhere, and I have to say, it was great quack! Apparently a Wigan supporter called Rob tweeted his great sorrow after a friend told him that Keith was dead. Rob then assumed Keith was another fan, Keith Valentine, who has been battling cancer for some time, and passed on his condolences. However, wires had very much been crossed, as the deceased Keith was a duck, belonging to Daryl Ravden.

  Mr. Valentine, very much alive though still battling lung cancer, took to Facebook, thanking all the people for their messages of sympathy. He said it was nice to know how much he was being missed, but assured everyone he’d not popped his clogs yet. He said he must be the first person in history to get messages of sympathy before he died.

  Sadly, the duck had really passed on to duck heaven (or maybe some Wigan restaurant!). Wigan Athletic honoured the bird’s memory by inviting their supporters to pay their respects to Keith the duck at half-time in their game with Portsmouth on Saturday, and displayed his image on the big screen. Wigan won the game 1-0 and the scorer Stephen Humphreys dedicated his goal to the unfortunate duck.

  Anyway, all’s well that ends well, as the real Keith and a guest have been invited for a hospitality package at the next home game against Doncaster. Lunch will be included but the club fanzine has said not to serve duck, as that would be quackers. All I can hope is they get no red cards for fowl play!


Local sports make a welcome return

One of the great things about living in a place like Creggs, or any other little village, is the pride we can have in our local sports clubs, no matter whether it’s soccer, Gaelic, rugby, hockey or athletics. Here in Creggs, we are fortunate to have both a vibrant GAA club and rugby club, and I have to say that after eighteen months of almost total wipeout, it’s great to be able to follow our teams again.

  On Saturday evening, our Junior B footballers took on Éire Óg in their final league game. It was a hugely entertaining game, played by two evenly matched teams, although the Loughlynn side came out on top. I always think that junior football is nearly more important than the higher grades, because it gives players that might otherwise get no games a chance to play and enjoy themselves. It can be a great place for young lads who are starting out to learn the game, and, for lads who are coming to the end of their careers, it’s an opportunity to wind down at a pace they are comfortable with.

  Both teams had such a mixture of players, and it all added up to a hugely enjoyable evening in Fuerty. It goes without saying that the inevitable post-mortem on the game took place over a few quiet pints, and it was good to have it back.

  Sunday saw me heading off to Monivea, where our rugby team was playing the locals in a Cawley Cup match. While we won the game, the result was almost immaterial; it was just so good to be able to stand on the side of a pitch, enjoy the fresh air, and revel in the fact that things were more or less back to normal.

  Throw in the fact that thousands of people are being allowed to Croke Park, and you have to side with the people in the music and entertainment industry, who query why theirs is the only industry that still remains closed. As one of their spokesmen said recently, 40,000 could go to the All-Ireland final, but if there was a bit of music in Croker, only 500 could attend. It just makes no sense.


Richael and Team Ireland have done us proud

Back to Tokyo: it was heartwarming to see so much support and media coverage for Richael Timothy, the Ballymoe girl representing Team Ireland in the cycling at the Paralympics. She has competed brilliantly in two different events – the Women’s Individual Pursuit, and the 500-metre Time Trial – and by the time you read this, she will have taken part in the Road Time Trial. Medal or no medal, she has really done everybody proud.

  At the time of writing, we have three gold medals – Jason Smyth, Ellen Keane and Eve McCrystal – and two silver medals – KG Dunlevy and Nicole Turner, and one bronze – Gary O’Reilly. So whatever happens from here, it has been a very successful trip for our Paralympians.


Finally for this week…

Apologies to anyone who doesn’t like sport this week…but as a Man Utd fan since 1963, I cannot hide my delight at the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo is coming back to us. It can only help to revitalise the club.

  As a young lad, he won three Premier League titles for us with his goals, and in my opinion, he was nearly singlehandedly responsible for the winning of the Champions League in 2008.

  People say that at 36 years of age he is past it, but if ever a man keeps himself in remarkable physical condition, it is the Portuguese superstar. Welcome home Cristiano, it’s great to have you back!

‘Till next week, Bye for now!